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How to Get Paid For Recycling

If you ever participated in Earth Day at school, you know that reduce, reuse, and recycle are important. But did you know you can make money from recycling? Here’s how to get paid for recycling things that many people don’t even think about.

How To Get Paid For Recycling

Let’s talk about the 8 ways you can get paid for recycling things you already have just laying around.

1) Recycle Your Trash

Did you know that you can recycle your regular old trash, and get paid for it?


With TerraCycle, a recycling organization that offers programs for hard-to-recycle items, you can recycle just about anything. This includes things you’d typically throw away, like dog food bags, toothpaste tubes, and even ice cream containers.

Recycling with TerraCycle allows you to earn points. Now, the weight requirement (shipments over 7 pounds) means you’d have to recycle a lot. BUT, you earn 2 points per shipment, and 1,000 points can be redeemed for $10. This may seem low, but it’s more than you would’ve gotten just throwing your trash away.

And, if you want, you could encourage your office, family members, friends, and even community to do this. And hey, no shame if you take advantage of other people’s trash. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure!

2) Recycle Old/Used Books

If you’re anything like me, you most likely have a ton of books just collecting dust. It’s not that I don’t love reading, I do. But after I read the book, I just sit it back on my bookshelves and rarely (if ever) touch it again.

Now, did you know that you could recycle and sell these old books? And yes, that includes old textbooks too!

How to Get Paid for RecyclingIf you’re selling your regular books, you can use sites like:

Selling textbooks? Try:

You can also sell privately on Amazon if you think you can get more money for your textbooks.

3) Sell Old Electronics

Just like with books, you can also sell your old electronics.

This includes:

  • old gaming systems,
  • phones (I work with often – a great choice),
  • laptops,
  • computers, and
  • handheld devices.

Decluttr not only accepts old books, but they accept old electronics as well.

If you have a local Walmart near you, you can “recycle” your phone with their kiosk at the front door, and make some quick cash. It’s not much, but every little bit helps!

Keep in mind that with sites like Decluttr or SellCell, you’re not going to get the full value of your electronics. They still have to make their money too. So if your electronics are newer and worth it, you can use sites like eBay or Facebook Marketplace to get more money back.

4) Recycle Bottles/Cans

Did you know that some states pay for you to recycle old bottles and cans? You can earn up to .15 cents per bottle or can that you recycle. So, if you have a lot of glass bottles or cans lying around (or if you drink a lot of soda), you can find yourself with a nifty little paid hobby.

Some people even go around picking up bottles and cans. Not only does that keep our streets clean, but it could mean more money in your pocket, without having to buy the cans and bottles in the first place!

While this hobby won’t make you rich, it could help you make a little extra money on the side. And the biggest benefit is that you’re saving the planet, one can or bottle at a time.

5) Get Rid Of Old Ink Cartridges

I don’t know about you, but I go through quite a few ink cartridges. As a work from home mom and homeschooling mom, we use a TON of ink. So why not get paid for using it?

This also works if you work for a company that allows you to take their ink cartridges as well (because let’s be honest, most companies are super wasteful).

Companies that pay for old ink cartridges include:

Staples will give you a $2 credit for each cartridge, up to 20 cartridges a month.

Office Depot and Office Max do the same, but both have a 10 cartridge limit instead of 20.

Either way, you could make up to $80 dollars a month if you utilize all three businesses (and have enough empty inks!).

6) Recycle Scrap Metal

This is one of the easiest “how to get paid for recycling” options ever. Metal is valuable. And non-ferrous metals like copper and brass can fetch you a pretty penny. Of course, you can recycle other metals like iron and aluminum too. They just won’t get you as much.

No matter what, you can take your metals to a scrap yard, get them weighed out, and get paid based on how many pounds you have. If you choose to go this route, I highly suggest saving up as much metal as you can before going to a yard. The more you have, the more you get paid. Also, you’ll want to separate your metals so you can get the most money you can.

While your scrap yard may differ, you can typically get anywhere from .75 cents to $2.50 per lb of metal that you get rid of.

online money saving7) Sell “Bulk Items” On eBay

So, let’s talk about how to get paid for recycling bulk items online. You’d be surprised at what people buy on eBay. From wine corks to empty toilet paper rolls, you can sell just about anything in bulk.

Many people who buy bulk items do so for crafts, businesses, or places like daycares. So, if you have something that you can collect a lot of easily, save those bits and bobs and put them up for sale.

You can even sell game pieces on eBay. This can be especially lucrative if you have vintage game pieces like the original Monopoly or Candy Land pieces. Collectors love vintage, and it can be a great way for those pieces to get a new life.

8) Sell Your Hair

While donating your hair is always a great option, there’s nothing wrong with selling it. Surprisingly, there is a lucrative market for human hair. And if your hair is virgin hair (unbleached and not chemically altered), you can get a pretty penny for it. Prices can range from $100 to over $2,000 for your locks.

So where can you sell your hair?

Besides sites like BuyandSellHair, you can also try going to wig makers and other salons to see if they will pay for hair. You can also see if you get lucky on sites like eBay. As always, do your research to make sure you’re selling your hair to reputable people.

How To Get Paid For Recycling – Are You Ready?

Did you know all of these ways on how to get paid for recycling?

Not only can you help save the planet and clean up trash, but you can also make money doing it. And who doesn’t like extra pocket change?

Now that you know how to get paid for recycling, are you going to get started with one of the options above? Which one?

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AUTHOR Kimberly Studdard

Kim Studdard is a project manager for online entrepreneurs and small businesses. When she isn't spending time with her daughter and husband, or reading her growing pile of horror books, you'll find her working on her HR degree and working towards FIRE.


  1. So where do you take your product to get paid are I didn’t understand this. Thanks

    • The best way is recycling centers in your area! Return metals and they’ll pay you by the pound.

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